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Anniversary of Omagh bomb is marked

Prayers said for victims of terror around the world as atrocity is remembered

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 15/08/2016

Stephen Pound MP steps forward to lay a wreath at the memorial garden for the Omagh bomb victims
Stephen Pound MP steps forward to lay a wreath at the memorial garden for the Omagh bomb victims

The Omagh bomb families have used the 18th anniversary of the atrocity to pray for victims of terrorism around the world.

Several hundred people attended a service in the town yesterday to remember those who died in the 1998 attack.

Yesterday's event took place close to the scene of the blast, which claimed the lives of 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins.

Michael Gallagher, who lost his son Aidan in the atrocity, said: "It was a very moving service.

"We prayed for all of the victims of terrorism at home and around the world."

In the 12 months since the previous service there has been a series of atrocities in Germany, France and Belgium.

Prayers were also said for Adrian Ismay, the prison officer murdered by an under-car bomb earlier this year, and Michael McGibbon, who was shot dead in a punishment-style attack in April.

The Omagh bombing was the biggest single atrocity in the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The 500lb device exploded in Market Street on August 15, 1998 - just four months after the Good Friday Agreement was signed.

The death toll included nine children and three generations of one family, but no one has been convicted in a criminal court of carrying out the attack.

Breda Devine, 20 months
Breda Devine, 20 months
Esther Gibson
Spaniard Gonzalo Cavedo poses with a child on his shoulders beside the car carrying the bomb that seconds later killed 29 people, including the photographer
Elizabeth Rush
Olive Hawkes, aged 60
Julie Hughes, aged 21
Ann McCombe, aged 45
Mary Grimes, aged 65
Aiden Gallagher, aged 21
The bomb attack was the worst ever atrocity of Northern Ireland's decades of violence.
Brian McCrory, left, aged 54
Samantha McFarland, aged 17
Philomena Skelton, aged 39
Jolene Marlow, aged 17
The scene of the Omagh Bomb
Brenda Logue, aged 17
Alan Radford, aged 16
Bryan White, aged 27
Oran Doherty
Lorraine Wilson
Fred White
Veda Short
Geraldine Breslin
Deborah-Ann Cartwright
The scene of devastation in Omagh Town centre where upto 25 people have been killed in this afternoons blast. PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/08/98
Gareth Conway, Omagh bomb victim
James Baker, Omagh bomb victim
Several men have faced charges in connection with the attack, but nobody has ever been convicted of the murders
Cathy and Michael Gallagher, the sister and father of Omagh bomb victim, Aiden Gallagher.
PACEMAKER BFST 03-08-99: Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has a chat with Claire Gallagher, who lost her sight in the Omagh bomb, before yesterday's friendly against Omagh Town in aid of the Omagh Bomb Fund.
The happy couple — Ryan and Claire Bowse on their wedding day last year, nine years after Claire lost her sight due to injuries suffered in the Omagh bombing
The damage caused by the bomb explosion in Market Street, Omagh, 1998
Donna Marie McGillion, who was seriously injured in the Omagh bombing
The secret email which shows intelligence bosses knew that Omagh was a prime target for a terrorist attack weeks before the car bomb that devastated the town
Claire Radford, whose brother Alan was killed in the Omagh bomb, examines a new stained-glass window in the town's library with her daughter Mia. The window was created in memory of the victims of the blast which killed 29 people and unborn twins.
Michael Gallagher whose son Aiden, 21, was killed in the Omagh bomb attack Pic Paul Faith
Michael Gallagher (right), whose son Aiden, 21, was killed in the Omagh bomb attack with Stanley McCombe who lost his wife Ann Pic Paul Faith

Yesterday's memorial was an inter-denominational service.

Among those present was Rabbi David Singer from the Jewish community, and senior members of the Islamic Centre in Belfast.

Mr Gallagher added: "As always there were three elements to our service - a Spanish element, an Irish element and an English element, representing the three nations affected by Omagh."

St Eugene's brass band as well as the Omagh Community Choir performed music at the service.

Mr Gallagher added: "We had several hundred people present, many of whom had travelled great distances to be with us.

"We actually had one visitor from Cork, who attends every year."

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